I am writing this holed up in a dive hotel in southern Wyoming in the midst of a three week road trip with my doggie. It is basically an agenda of simply being on the road to wherever, whenever. The only thing on the agenda was to go to Colorado to see an old friend I haven't seen since July 9, 1995. The date is easy to remember as it is the day of the final Grateful Dead show in Chicago.
Since I was going to be in the area, I got tickets to the final two shows of the Dead & Company tour that was finishing in Boulder, Colorado. In quite often typical road trip fashion though, I have had some crazy break down stories on the mountain passes east of Vail. They definitely put a huge fork in the road for the journey I have been on. There is no doubt about that.
I missed the first of the two shows because of it all, but was able to get in for the final one last night. It was an incredible concert, but that is a story all of its own. What I will say about it is that while I was swimming through the height of bliss for that string of hours in that stadium, thoughts of seeing The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam!
Dead & Company - Boulder, Colorado - July 6, 2019
Starbelly is a festival back home in Crawford Bay on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, BC on July 19. This is their 20th year!
Last night, the festival, and The Wild Turkeys, had both found their way into the stream of all my thoughts of what The Grateful Dead has meant to my life: Everything it has given me, and especially all the people it has brought my way!
(The vast, vast majority of people in my life are due to the trickling effect of that band. It is doubtful I would even be living out in BC without it.)
It made me smile when the Turkeys came into mind while I was gruuuvin' in that stadium. I love the Wild Turkeys! I haven't seen them too many times, but that's mostly because I don't get out much. It is a band of local guys who all share a passion for the band I love so much, The Grateful Dead. They just have fun covering their tunes, and only play shows around our area.
**I wrote something about them last year.
As far as I am concerned, The Wild Turkeys are quite synonymous with the Starbelly Jam festival as they have played there many times over the years, dating back to the first year the festival was held. That was in July of 1999...the same year I had moved to the area.
I moved to the West Kootenay on May 1, 1999. It is no secret that I live and breathe all things Grateful Dead related, so my impending collision with the Turkeys was inevitable, and the first time I saw them was only weeks after my arrival to the area. They were playing at The Royal on Baker Street in Nelson. It was the simple 'Steal Your Face' image on their poster that grabbed my attention, and drove me to going to their show, of which my mind had been to before it had even happened.
Timmy was the first one of the boys I met in the band. That was when a bunch of us were all crammed into the little band room downstairs after the Fat Cats show at The Civic on Vernon Street in town. (Renamed, "Finley's Bar & Grill" by great new owners since around 2003.) He and I were sitting at the same tiny table, and were immersed in all the fun with everyone else.
**It turns out that some of the guys are tied heavily with the Fat Cats, which naturally extended a further branch towards them as The Fatties are really good friends of mine.
The Wild Turkeys - Some fantastic West Kootenay boys!
As for Starbelly Jam itself...
Phot0 by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
I have very vivid memories of Starbelly, but they are not from me being there as I have never been!
I lived with Christa in Queens Bay for the first three years I lived here: July 99 to April 2002. (Q.B. is five minutes from the ferry to the festival, but on the opposite side of Kootenay Lake.)
My tiny little 14 foot cabin on Christa's property in Queens Bay, BC
Back then, Christa had an ice cream truck, and she hit the festival circuit hard! Her traveling partner was her daughter, Hazel, was only 7 months old then. I'd always see them preparing for, or returning from, whatever festival.
It could get quite comical looking out the window of my little cabin to see Christa up and down the ramp carrying all her stuff in and out of the truck because Hazel would be at her feet the whole time. Mostly she just wanted to help her mama, but she was a baby, so it was like walking through a moving mine field for Christa.
Her arriving home from festivals was one of my favourite ways to hang out with Christa. I would come and play with Hazel, and kinda run some interference so Christa could get stuff done. I'd just be hangin' out talking to both of them...mama and baby. It was fantastic. I love those two so, so much!
Top: Christa and Hazel during 1999/2000.
Bottom: Christa, Hazel and I skating on the pond at the Balfour Golf Course - December 31, 1999
(These are the only photos I have of the two of them.)
I had heard great things about Starbelly right from the beginning. Each year I lived in Queens Bay, I house sat for Christa while the festival was on, so I did not attend. Her stories of it, upon coming home from the first one, added to the whole picture of the West Kootenay region for me.
In the years since the beginning days of the festival, other things have also kept me away as well. After I left Queens Bay, I moved deep in the bush, up the mountain, west of Nelson. All told, it was about an hour and fifteen minutes away (When factoring my gnarly driveway.), so it was no longer just a short pop down to the ferry kinda thing to get to.
Even back then, I had many friends who had Starbelly marked on their calendar as an annual event they were not missing. There was always great music, and lots of other things to do for everyone. It was equally great for the individual, as well as families and their kids. The tales coming out of that festival every year grew and grew.
Above three photos by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
Aside from the housesitting for those who would be attending, my body's epic journey of pain was a big contributing factor on my missing out on Starbelly!
My body first fell apart in 1993, but in June of 2002 stuff happened that I could never express into words...the worst it has ever been. (I'm not getting into the depth of that here.) I have never been the same since.
Despite all the craziness in my body, I dug into dragging my banged up self through triathlons. I was hooked right away from the first race I did! I didn't care how much it hurt to do them, I just found them liberating and invigorating. (Just as with my body, my triathlon life is a massive story of its own for another time as well.
Fundraiser at Save-On-Foods with Tiyenna (She totally bailed me out to help me pull this off.)
I got so much from the triathlon world, that I wanted to start giving back to it somehow, so in 2007 I did my first ever fundraiser at Save-On-Foods. I wanted to raise some bucks to buy a trophy to donate to our local triathlon. (It was for the athlete who overcomes adversity to race.) The date given to me by the grocery store was the Saturday of the weekend of Starbelly Jam. I missed another one!
Even though they beat the living hell out of me, triathlon had taken over my life during my summers for some years, so festivals were not a thing on my radar. There was also another massive life turn that came when I got beat down by an animal on June 30, 2009. That set off a chain of events where I ended up losing about five and a half of the next six years of my life. It also left me with more permanent changes within my body as with my 2002 breakdown.
It just seemed to be that something was always keeping me away from the festival, but the stories from those who went never ceased to keep rolling in!
I have always been intrigued by Starbelly, and even with never having been, I have grown an attachment to it in my own way. This will be their 20th anniversary of the event, so it seems like the perfect year for me to attend for my first time.
(It was on hiatus for one summer a few years ago, and even never having been, it left me a bit sad to know it would not be happening. I was delighted to hear it would be returning when it did.)
Timmy showing me his new amplifier last month.
I went to Timmy's house a couple weeks before I left on this road trip down to Colorado (and the ensuing wandering). He's such a great guy. He was showing me his new amplifier he had just gotten, and was super psyched on. He invited me to come to their jam sessions leading up to the festival, but unfortunately I'm unable to attend because of my road trip in the States. (There could be a likelihood that I roll into the festival straight from the USA.)
This road trip I am on has seemed to add to the nature of attending Starbelly Jam to see the Wild Turkeys. I have been some gorgeous places on my trip, but back home in the West Kootenay is really a special place! It is so damned beautiful and full of so many incredible people...and it's home!
When I was riding that train of bliss in the Dead & Company show last night, and having the image float into my mind of being at Starbelly watching the Turkeys play gave me a nice feeling of my home...one of rippling warmth. It made me smile more, and painted more happiness into being there gruuuvin' hard in Boulder last night!
The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam is in eleven days, and I can't wait!
Starbelly Jam Society
Box 15 Crawford Bay, BC
West Coast Grill at The Prestige Lakeside Resort
No photos as I had not intended to write about my meal here because I only went to meet with a friend who was staying there. It was so terrible all around that I couldn't let it go though.
The easy thing I will start with is my friend. He ordered french toast with bananas, but they brought him kiwis instead. He was visibly upset about this as he picked them off and was kinda cursing out each piece as he did, and saying something along the lines of how can they mess up a kiwi with a banana?! They also charged him for two teas when he only had one.
Of the two of us, he was the one who got the good service...
I ordered a very simple classic breakfast: over easy eggs, bacon, sourdough toast, hash browns.
The food didn't take long, but as soon as it was put in front of me I zeroed in on the eggs. Those things were...how do I put it? The only way they could possibly have been more overcooked is if they were charcoal black and crispy. The yolks were hard, like, can't even cut up with a fork kind of hard! That totally defeats the whole purpose of an over-easy egg, as the whole point of those is to dip your toast in the oozing yolk.
I was immediately put-off by it as I have always felt that if you're in a building called the Prestige then your food better be prestigious.
My friend used to be a cook for many years, so he knows what's up with good and bad food, and he didn't even hesitate saying that he was gonna get me new food. I told him no, that I don't send food back unless it has a hair in it, or it makes me sick immediately. (As an example...spoiled cream or the like!) Then I explained that if I send it back, that they're just gonna throw it out and I am not OK with that. I'm kid of the 80's who saw countless times a day on TV the little kids in Ethiopia with bloated stomachs and flies flying around them from desperate starvation; as cliché as it might sound at times, I am very aware of people around the world who don't have food, and would do almost anything for those shitty eggs. For me to have them thrown out is not acceptable. My friend said they need to be held accountable. I told him they will be, and quickly refreshed his memory that I write about food.
(A lesser reason I do not send food back because of quality is because I have known many, many cooks over the years, and have heard too many nightmare kitchen stories of what can happen to sent back dishes, so I don't trust round two of rejected food for a second.)
I wasn't really eating the food too much. I was more in disbelief of how terrible it was while trying to break up parts of the egg with my fork. I ate a hash brown here and there and talked with my friend about the garbage quality. That kind of took over the theme of our conversation.
When I had only eaten one slice of toast, a few hash browns, and a bit of one egg, without asking if I was done, the server just showed up and took my food away. My friend and I both said I wasn't done with it. He didn't hear us I guess, which was quite impressive as we both said it clear and loud enough for anyone standing only two feet from our table to hear. He then dropped my fork on the ground, picked it up, and put it on the plate as we both repeated ourselves that I wasn't finished. This time he heard us and started handing me my plate back with the fork that had just fallen on the floor sitting right in the food.
In my mind, I was like, "Seriously?! You're really gonna give a plate of food that has a utensil in it that you just dropped on the floor?!"
His hand was outstretched with the plate, but I wasn't gonna say anything until it got to the table to see if he would actually give it back to me. Thankfully he retracted his arm and realized what he had just done. He hesitated for a moment pondering what to do, and then apologized, and said he would get me some more food.
When he was gone back to the kitchen I looked at my friend and said, "I kinda just wanna leave." That was when my friend was looking at his bill seeing that he had just been charged for two teas instead of one.
The food didn't take long, but I wish it took a little bit longer because this time the eggs were well under cooked. They were disgusting...like eating snot. When my server asked me if there was anything else I needed I told him a fork would be great because I didn’t have any utensils.
By this time, my friend had to leave for a meeting, so I just sat there by myself eating gross snotty eggs. While I was doing that, my server had walked by and taken the cloth napkins off the table. I was thinking to myself at that point, “I’m not freakin’ done yet.” He then realized I was not done, so he put down my friend’s used napkin for me. He then stood there confused as to which one was which and picked up my friend’s and put mine back down, but to me, all I saw was his hands all over it, and I more impressed that he just kept finding ways to take bad and make it worse. It was quite impressive, especially knowing that he had been a server there for many years.
It was a huge mistake to eat that second round of eggs because now I feel terrible. There is this sludgy, slimy film from my mouth right down to my stomach, and my belly feels like I just ate some rocks.
That was quite possibly the worst meal/service combination I have ever had. Needless to say, when my friend is in town again, we won't be eating there again. It's really too bad because it is such a nice location, especially the patio on the water, but it's just not worth it. The disappointment is paramount to virtually every dining experience in that place.
When I left the restaurant, I walked straight over to the Front Desk to ask if I could borrow a pen. The lady said, "Of course." I just wanted to write down 'kiwi instead of banana' so I would remember that mistake with my friend's dish. I didn't finish writing 'instead' because I was kind of distracted talking to the woman at the desk. She asked me how I was doing. I said, "Terrible, now!" With some alarm and definite concern in her voice she asked me why. I told her that I just had a terrible meal and service at in the restaurant. It kind of stopped her in her tracks, but she did ask me if I wanted the manager's card. I told her no...that I know who he is. I thanked her for the pen and then walked off and went about my day.
The very first meal I ever had that The Prestige in 2000 I remember looking at my friend I was with then and saying, "This is not very Prestigious." After so many failed attempts at meals there, I gotta say that I am done with it. I won't waste my time or money going for a meal at The Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson, BC. The rooms are great, but the food is just one let down after another, and the lesson has been learned.
Winter really held on in the back end of the season this year. It sure took its time saying good bye for another year to say the least. After some hit and miss days towards the end of April, it finally seems like we are in the clear for the warmer weather to stay upon us here in the west.
(The east sure might have some disagreeing thoughts about that as they are still getting hammered by mama nature. Haha...suckers!)
It's an early start to today, and as I look out the window I can see it is a gorgeous day in the making. I have time to spare, so I decide to take my curiosity up to the rooftop patio that is advertised here at The Savoy Hotel in downtown Nelson, BC.
There are 12 rooms in their boutique hotel. I had the Junior Suite
I leave my room and make my short way to the stairs at the back end of the beautiful guest common area on the floor hotel floor. Nobody is stirring in the hotel yet, so everything is nicely quiet. It makes me feel special, like I am the king with a whole floor to myself.
One of the nice things about The Savoy Hotel is that it is completely dog friendly in all their rooms, otherwise I would not be here because my doggie comes with me everywhere I go.
When you open the door, this is what you see...
The two of us head up the stairs to the roof. I could say I simply opened the door, but really I opened my expectations, because as soon as the door swung wide it revealed a gorgeous first sight for my doggie and I. She led the way, and I followed her outside.
The patio is much bigger than I had pictured in my mind. It is very spacious, but feels intimate at the same time. A nice balance! The views all around are spectacular. They kind of just hit you right upside the head and force their way into your mind, taking over all your thoughts.
My timing was perfect too as the sun had just crested over the mountain ridge sitting behind the top end of town. Clouds were non-existent, so the crystal clear blue sky was wide open. A blank canvass for another day of possibility!
As I walked around looking at everything, and taking it all in, the early morning air was filled with songs from the birds of spring. The springtime birds sing the best songs because it just seems like so long since they have been soundtracks of the day. Their voices were quite predominant too as the town was still barely waking up, and without the real traffic sounds to start the day. It was all too peaceful. What a great setting to start the day! I was like a king on top of the world in my own little utopia.
I went to look at their hot tub in the corner that faces west. The railings are made of nice planked wood on two sides of the patio, but they had they good foresight to make the railings out of glass for the hot tub area so as to not obstruct the view...and what a view!
Knowing Nelson as well as I do, the hot tub is in the perfect location for the end of day sunset down the valley above the river. Just absolutely sensational!
Thinking about that, one might assume I am on the wrong end of the day for that experience, and although true as far as the sinking sun, and the way it will colour the sky, seeing the sun crest over the ridge on the other side in the quiet morning is equally spectacular.
There are changing areas and showers at the bottom of the stairs in the back end of the common guest area, but they also have a washroom/changing room right off to the side in the hot tub space. There is a water fountain too for those moments you might be a tad bit thirsty from soaking in the hot water. It is a total gem of little spot for sure.
(The water in the fountain is all on the same building system that has a high end water filter for all the water in the rooms, restaurants, as well as down in the Bloom Nightclub. All of it!
**As a side note, off of the guest common area there is a beautiful sauna as well. It is the traditional kind as far as being able to pour water over the hot rocks to let off steam rather than an electric sauna. I love those kinds infinitely more than the electric ones.
There is also a BBQ up here on the patio that is good to go for any guests who wish to give 'er on that and Q up a feast!
Their tables and benches are all hand milled wood from their farm down at the Salmo River Ranch about 50 minutes south of Nelson. (The ranch is also home to their Shambhala Music Festival, which is coming up on its 22nd year this coming August.)
Grains of wood on the handmade tables
The patio is only open and available to the guests of the hotel, so it really embraces that intimacy for its guests. They have pretty good hours too as it is open from 6:00am until 10:00pm. I believe they made the opening hours to benefit skiers in the winter time so they can have time for a nice little soak before they head up to Whitewater to catch first chair on the fat powder days, and pound some fluffy white pillows of winter bliss. (Shhhh...keep it a secret!)
All in all, just from the sunset hot tubbing alone, there is no place like this rooftop patio in all of Nelson. They really crushed it on this for sure! I'm glad I came up here to start my day. Such a beautiful way to ease into the world for another go at it!
Back down to the common area, and on with my day...
198 Baker Street
Nelson, BC, Canada
**I was looking through Aszjeca's Halloween series of photos, and just started writing this in mid-thought...all in one shot, unedited and raw, as is the way I will often write.
It's not even just about what she does with her skills, there is just something about the way Aszjeca captures her creations in how she poses in her photos. They're not just straight photos of the make up and then done, she knows how to bring them to life even more by adding other layers of depth.
(This is the photo that put my mind into writing mode)
I haven't read the original thing I wrote about Aszjeca last year since I did it.
I kinda just write and move on. I do believe I said something along the lines of me not being a make-up kinda guy. I love natural beauty and don't think it should be covered up. Aszjeca is the exception that makes me a total hypocrite though, because what she does is unreal!!
After seeing her Halloween series this year I kinda got sad that it was over. It was then that I realized that Aszjeca is my favourite artist in this area. There is a very deep and rich community of artists around here, and I don't want to disrespect any of them because this place has some damned talent...my goodness does it ever have talent, but she is on a different level.
(This photo deserves to be full size...that shit's crazy!)
Aszjeca's skills are off the charts fantastic, and so is her imagination for what she comes up with to create. She never ceases to blow my mind that way. The thing that takes it further though is that extra layered depth she gets through knowing how to capture each moment in a photo.
It may not seem like it to many, but I am a very artsy person, and in anything I do I pour everything I have into it, and look for as many ways to add layers of depth as I can. I stretch my imagination beyond what I know to do. I venture into the unknown through my art, quite often by mistake, but I love the pursuit of uniqueness as it is often the thing that drives me.
It's in that realm of thought where my mind goes when I see the way Aszjeca captures her creations...whether that be through wearing a wig, or onsie lookin' thing, the way she has her hair, or just through the way she poses. She brings in several aspects of art all at once, and it is just so damned mind blowing.
The thing that is even more excellent is the way that once she is done, she cleans it off and that's that! I liken it similarly to Buddhist Monks doing those absolutely stunning sand mandalas. Their creations are so gorgeous, and leave one completely in awe. Then once they are done, the monks just sweep up the mandala...and that's that! Countless hours just gone. I know those mandalas are all about the journey, and not the destination; but the odd time I will think about that likeness between Aszjeca's art and that of a Buddhist Monk's sand mandala...a stunning piece of work that gets washed away. It all seems crazy, but it is really just wrapped in brilliance.
Within the notion of her art, the simplest thing I can say is that I am a guy who straight-up doesn't like make up, but I am always looking forward to what she is gonna do next. Aszjeca is just that fuckin' good!
Yesterday (November 2nd) I sent her this message:
"I'm assuming your Halloween series is over now? You gonna do a Christmas one?"
She told me she is for sure, so stay tuned 'cause Christmas is coming fast!
Here is Aszjeca's info again!
Her page on Younique Beauty Products. (She has been killing it with this stuff!):
Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada:
Bonus photo she posted beginning of November...
"Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground ✨" - Aszjeca
From September 18, 2018
When I was on my way to the Okanagan for the last of my three triathlon trips this summer I hit a deer just before I got into Grand Forks. I was absolutely horrified by the accident as it was a little spotted fawn. I'll save that story for another time.
I stopped in town to assess the damage before I kept rolling down the road, especially since it was somewhere between 3:00 -4:00am.
There was only some minor damage to my front driver side light and signal light that I was gonna need to get sorted, but nothing serious, so I kept on my way. When I got home from the weekend I got in touch with Joe & Al to set up an appointment to get some lovin’ for my van.
When I pulled up to their shop at Steel Toe Joe’s in Krestova I was greeted by Rosie in the driveway as soon as I got outta my van. She saw my dogs, and had to immediately 'cess the situation with who these fuckers were at her place. (I had Paul's doggie, Cecelia, while he was away at Red Rocks in Colorado for a Greensky Bluegrass show).
Rosie the shop dawg!
Rosie is pretty excellent. As Fennario is my work's hotel doggie, Rosie is the shop doggie at Steel Toe Joe's! She even has her own seat that she seems to have taken complete ownership of.
My appointment was at 2:00pm, and I guess I rolled in at 1:58pm. I knew this because they were half shocked about it.
Porter: "Who in the Kootenays is ever on time?!"
(Jon) Porter works for Joe in the shop. He is a super good guy. He just grinds away at what he's doin', and then every-so-often you'll hear him start gigglin' at our meandering conversations.
As casual as I am, and as much as I don’t like to hurry for pretty much anything, I do try to be on time for appointments as I find it prudent to be considerate of those who may be in front or behind me.
Joe was out test driving some guy's pick-up truck when it was my turn, so Porter hopped right in my van, drove it into the shop, and got right at it. Pronto service!
It wasn't too hard for him to figure out what headlight was messed up from the little deer because as soon as he popped the hood and lifted it up, the light fell right out.
He started laughing, “Found it!”
I got Porter to put on my snow tires while I was there too.
Joe came and went, working on this and that, and searching through the computer for parts while Al did her desk-y work. Al is the duty manager...also Joe's wife.
Joe and Al are amazing. Just really, really great people! I've known them for 15 years now, and they have become some of my closest friends.
First photo is Al trying to act angry that I took her photo. Second one is when I called bullshit on her being angry.
Over the years I have watched Joe's whole progression towards someday having his own shop at his home. While doing his apprenticeship, he had to go away to Cranbrook for school, and then to Kelowna over a period of four years. It was a bummer having to be away from his wife and kids, but it was all a part of the grander vision and he was doing what he had to do.
Joe worked, and worked, and just ground it out...even towing truck for three or four years. He would be in the shop from 8am - 5pm, and then be on call for the rest of the 24 hours...often being called out in the middle of the night. He did all this while having a family with Al and their three young children!
A family affair! Ollie (their youngest) helping mom and dad.
Joe is the epitome of a hard worker. On top of that, he is as solid as they come. When I think of what a good human is, he is one of the first people who comes to mind. In an industry that is widely known to have scammers and just a lotta shittiness, Joe is the one who stands out above the rest. There is no one more honest than him, and there is nothing he can't fix.
When I say there is nothing he can’t fix, I’m talking far beyond just vehicles. I once had a problem with my bike that no local bike shops could fix, nor could bike shops in Calgary and the Okanagan. It was a loose rivet that was the issue. I was sent to the riveting specialist in Nelson and even he couldn't do it, so I took it to Joe. He was working at Western Auto Wreckers at the time. I dropped off my bike, came back in a couple days, and it was good to go! Back racing triathlons again! (When I dropped it off, Corey and Perry came out and slobbered over the awesomeness of it.)
(Clint, Corey and the rest of the boys at Western Auto had always been real good to me. It always felt like they would give me a tad bit of special treatment there. With the exhaustion so deep in my body, there had even been times when I would pass out on their desk in the office, and they didn't mind. They were always into and entertained by what I was doing. They even used to sponsor me when I raced hard years ago.)
In a way I was a bit sad to see Joe leave Western because I liked the guys there, but when he told me he was finally goin' for it with his shop I was super psyched for him. Nothing in the past mattered at that point, because I was aware of the whole journey and what it truly meant to him to finally arrive at the foot of his dream.
Although the road to that whole dream of the home-based shop was not always an easy one, it came together real fast when Joe and Al found the amazing new home they bought in June of 2015. It is in Krestova on several acres of land, and had a shop on it.
For the first couple years the shop was designated as their social hangout. It was great for that! They had Thanksgiving in it in 2015 and called it, "Shopsgiving." They also had Christmas there one year and called it, "Shopsmas." I mean, how good is that?!
Joe's dream of his home shop persisted though, but it always seemed like a bit of a distant thing even though they had most of the pieces in place. Then, just like that, one day he said, "Fuck it!" and went for it.
Talking with him about it, it was all just the whole concept of having the courage to just dive into the unknown and go.
He had to do some reno's to his shop to get it full business ready, but nothing too crazy. He ripped out a small couple walls, raised a section in the roof so he could put in a lift, and put in a bigger sliding door on the front. Just like that, he was ready to go!
After the school year was done at the end of this past June, Al finished up with her old job that she had been doing for many years, and joined Joe in the shop as the Duty Manager.
In all the 15 years I have known them, and all the fun and shenanigans we have had together, Joe said my favourite thing I have ever heard him say at an annual party they had on the second weekend of August.
Deep into the night he and I were talking a bit about the shop, and I asked him how it was with Al there...how she liked it, how they flowed together in a working environment, etc.
Joe said, "It's great! I love my wife, and she loves me! We get along so well, and all day long we get to see each other. I love it!"
I don't really need to say how amazing that is, do I?! It was definitely one of those moments where you just get happy for other people's happiness.
I've seen Joe and Al in the serious grind of some of the earlier years just trying to make it all work, and now, without exception, every time I am here I just get happy for them because they are both truly living their dream. There is not a time that I go to their place that that thought does not enter my mind…regardless of why I am there.
The environment they have created in their Steel Toe Joe's Automotive shop is warm, inviting, friendly, yet very professional. They are both the kindest people ever, and absolutely freakin' hilarious too!
I know that sometimes women can feel intimidated at automotive shops. I’ve seen that kind of thing through advertisements and such of the rare auto shop that is owned and operated by women…where part of their advertising pitch is about their shop being a place where women can feel safe and comfortable.
I’m not gonna get into what I think of all that here, but what I will say is that no woman will ever feel that at Steel Toe Joe’s. Ever! It doesn’t matter who you are, when you are at their shop they will make you feel at ease. As I eluded to above, Joe is one of the first people who comes to mind when I think of what a good human is, and Al…shiiit…I don’t think there is a more caring person on this planet, not that I have ever come across anyway!
It just feels like home, like you’re hanging out with good friends while Joe and Porter take care of your vehicles and Al takes care of you personally. I’m not just saying that because I am their friend, but because I am very observant towards who they are. (I’m only their friend because of the good people they are.)
There is no way I could possibly recommend anyone higher if you are in the area from Nelson to Castlegar and the lower Slocan Valley. If you don't live in this area and you have car problems, it totally sucks to be you! I kinda feel sorry for you!
Steel Toe Joe's staff...some of the best people you will ever meet!
Left to right: Joe & Al Shaw, Jon Porter
Steel Toe Joe's Automotive is the shit! The best of the best! Honest, reliable, and the ass-whuppin'est car fixin'est mutha-fuckas there are!
You leave there happy, entertained, and with your car all patched up.
You can find them at:
3804 Pine Road
On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Steel-Toe-Joes-Automotive-Repair-587555518068314/
Google Maps Link:
I went to the Kootenay Country Co-Op today. I hadn't been there for awhile. I thought it was time to go grab some food there as I have been to the Wednesday Market, Evergreen Natural Foods, and Safeway in Nelson.
The Co-Op has recently moved locations to their long anticipated new building. It is much, much bigger than it was before, offering much more selection of goods. I was psyched to see what I could get there as I have been on a pretty limited grocery list for my diet.
I was in there early in the morning, which was nice as it wasn't too busy. Long ago, I used to have a self imposed rule to never go there on a Friday afternoon as it would be so busy I would just bail on what I needed and try again after the weekend.
I was quite surprised by the limited amount of produce available to me. They had plastic tags and stickers on so much of their stuff too. Although this no new plastic thing is much easier than I anticipated going in, I kinda can't wait for it to be done so I can eat some damned bananas and avocados again.
Right out front of their door was a display of peaches that I wanted to get. They were in the Pulp Fibre cartons. I was psyched. I grabbed a pack and had a fatty smile on my face. Then I remembered that my time restricted eating schedule was for when I was at work.
I immediately started picturing myself eating peaches at work and knew that sticky fruit hands were not gonna be at all conducive to my work environment, so sadly I put them down. I might go back on Friday to get some for the weekend, but can't say for sure as I might just go somewhere else instead
I poked around the produce and got some stuff that would be good for me and that I could bring to work. Before I left I needed to grab some more rice as I was out. I also decided on a bit of elbow pasta too. I got the ultra-hippy kind too: Quinoa-Rice pasta elbows!
I brought the worng lids to the containers I had with me, and couldn't get new ones, but I did have a couple old bags that I have used for a long time. **I only bring a few new bags into my house per year as it is...just reuse the crap outta them.
Once I had the rice and pasta, I was set enough for myself, and headed towards the checkout. On my way there I passed by the salad bar cafe stands. They didn't have much out for serving yet because it was so early, but they did have something that caught my eye: Enchiladas!
Those fuckers looked good. Before committing to getting some in my mind I had to check on the packaging. They had the hard papery recyclable take away packaging, so I was goin' for it. They weren't too big, but I only grabbed a couple.
Now, armed with those, I was ready to make my break to the checkout, pay for my food, and get the hell outta town so I could crawl into bed for some sleep.
I unloaded everything to get rung through, then walked around to the other side of the till to start packaging up. Once the girl was done with my stuff she leveled me with the bad news:
In my head all I was thinking was, "Are you fuckin' kidding me?! SEVENTY TWO FREAKIN' FIFTY FUCKIN' FOUR! Who in their right gawd damned mind thinks this is OK?!"
I was looking at the food I had. Here is the list:
-A little bit of Carrots
-A small amount of rice and elbow pasta
-2 Heads of Broccoli
-1 Bunch of Celery
-2 Bulbs of Garlic
-3 Small Red Onions
-2 Small Enchiladas from their Salad Bar thing
No matter how I looked at it, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this small amount of food could cost this much gawd damned money! These people are outta their damned minds if they think this is acceptable. There's no need to wonder why people can't afford to shop and eat at this place. I was just glad I had some cash left over from a Gift Card thing I bought as a fundraiser one of my friend's kids was doing.
I'm all for supporting local business and stuff, but this makes ridiculous look awesome!
Many years ago, when I was on a small disability of about $450/month after my rent portion I was able to shop exclusively at the Co-Op. Now I bust my ass workin' like a mutha-fucka and I can't afford to shop here exclusively. The new Co-Op is outta freakin' control with this kinda shit goin' on, that's for damned sure! I'll keep goin' there for the odd thing I can't get elsewhere in town, but for staples, this place can go to hell! They sure talk a lot about being community oriented, but this says the exact opposite. My goodness!
I saw these recent 'after' photos from one of Aszjeca's live videos she did. This is absolutely amazing! So, here I am spontaneously putting them up here as a little follow-up to the post I wrote about her at Christmas time titled, "The Many Faces of Aszjeca"
Aszjeca has been absolutely crushing it with everything she has been doing. I saw a part of a video she posted not too long ago kind of summing up everything she has going on. It was crazy how much happy and excitement she packed into every square inch of that video. I love seeing people thriving in whatever speaks to their heart, and the pure joy it brings them in the process. It is really something to observe, and that was everything that spoke out from that video.
There's no doubt about it: Aszjeca is bad-freakin'-ass!
Here's all the different ways you can find your way into her world.
Aszjeca's page on Younique Beauty Products. (She has been killing it with this stuff!):
Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada:
I didn’t have any apprehensions, but when I started this out going into my first day, I definitely had some wonder with how things would go. Any preconceptions I had with my anticipation of how things would unfold did not take long at all to get dispelled.
I started off great on my first day. I crushed through most things I had to do. My food was simple as I had not yet really done any shopping. As I am an idiot, rather than getting some proper food to start me off in a position of strength, armed with the knowledge that I was taking this challenge on, and what it would mean for my food intake (both amount and kinds of food available to me), I got myself a pizza on my last day before I began. One last blast before I get at ‘er!
My food was very simple on my first day, leftover roast chicken and rice. I ate that through the night when I was at work (My equivalent of daytime…kinda!)
The fitness aspect of things was equally great and quite lacking. The push-ups drained my arms really badly and really chewed up my shoulders in a nasty way. I was expecting the shoulder part, but the amount they drained my arms was beyond what I expected, or was prepared for. It took me a lot to get through all of them.
I also gave myself a set back by trying to add some planks into the fitness end of my challenge. I only did one for 22 seconds, but it took such a toll on my hernia that I had to stop. Not only could I not do anymore of them, but it set back the rest of me for what I still had to do. Bottom line: Planks are out!
The planks put me in a bit of a hole, but I would soon find myself in a bigger hole in the next couple days to come.
The amount of time involved to do everything was more than I expected too. Aside from all the fitness chores I have to knock off, I also have to prepare food to take to work with me. The first night didn’t take long as it was so simple, but the rest do take time and planning. By the end of the challenge I will have it all dialed to a smooth running machine, but this is the beginning and not the end, plus I started off in a hole right away.
Part of the thing that put me in a bit of a hole was the time constraint of the day my first day fell upon. It was on my worst working day of the week. I have a schedule adjustment that costs me time at home as I get off several hours later than usual. I also had to go to the market after work to get some food. I wrote about that already for day one.
My meal for my second day was much nicer. It was rice, cucumber, shredded beets, Liquid Braggs, some Spike seasoning, and green onions. I also had a chunk of that bread from the French Bakery that I got at the market, as well as some strawberries.
Rice, Cucumber, Green Onions, Shredded Beets, Spike Seasoning, French Bakery Bread.
I was freakin’ starving though. I definitely expected that on the first day, and it delivered for sure! When I woke up before work and was preparing my food to eat at work, I shoved a few of the strawberries in my face. Daaaaaamnnn were they exactly what I needed. I felt my insides crying with happiness. My tastebuds were dancing to the songs the strawberries were playing to them. I was in heaven.
I cut off a big chunk of bread…about 1/3 of the loaf (They are small loaves…don’t judge me!) and ate it while I was driving to work. I know rice and bread were two starches, but I didn’t care one freakin’ bit.
I had gotten home from work just after 12:00 noon. I was freakin’ exhausted! I crawled into bed and slept off and on for about 2½ hours. I couldn’t let myself sleep any more than that as I had to be awake at 9:30pm to get ready for work, meaning I had to go to sleep around 6:00pm to try to get maybe 2½ to 3 hours of sleep before work. (I will usually wake up 2 – 5 times in a three hour stretch.) Sleeping so late though, waking up just before 3:00pm I mean, set me up to probably not be able to sleep again before I had to go to work. That’s not ideal, but that has become normal to me.
I woke up with a brutal head ache, and felt like I had sunstroke. I had no energy and was light headed all day. I could barely take on my fitness tasks at all. I was bitter about that for sure. It was eating at my mind and pissing me off! Luckily, I didn’t know what I had ahead of me or I would have been really upset.
That next night I was at work from 11pm Thursday until 5pm Friday afternoon. I did take a 30min break to just sit there deep into the night as I knew I would be working into overtime because of circumstance. The morning was dragging on, and work was nuts. Sometime after 12:00 noon, Daniella and I went to her place for about an hour to let the doggies play as I was starting to talk to myself about taking a break for Fennario. (I had brought her to my van just before 10am thinking I would be done for the day around noon.)
Daniella & Willow; Fennario
Needless to say, it was a fuckin’ grind of a long-ass day. It beat the hell outta me. As soon as I came home I crawled into bed and passed right the fuck out. I woke up several times though as per usual. I’d get up to drink some water, and then get back into bed. I did get outta bed for a couple hours in the middle of the night, but I didn’t do anything. I just sat there like a useless piece of shit and stared at some of the World Cup. I went back to bed, and aside from the usual waking up every so often and grabbing a drink to make some use of the time, I didn’t get outta bed for good until sometime between 9:00-10:00am.
I lost my entire Friday...Day 3! I was freakin’ pissed off! The only way I could look at it though was through two things. One, it was only the beginning of the challenge, so I had time to make up the lost ground on the fitness end of the challenge. Two, it was the weekend, so it was a good place to start to make up that ground and get some proper footing on finding a routine.
When I got outta bed I sat around for a little bit, in no hurry to wake up quickly. I was riding the blob in my mind and the lethargic-ness in my body. I got bored of that quickly, or perhaps it was just my mind only thinking about all the ground I had to make up, so I got up and immediately did some push-ups to begin my fitness end of Day 4.
I had some reservations about those that was bordering on anxiety. I just knew how much they drained me, screwed up my shoulders, and set me back a little. I did make an adjustment though with my technique to see if that helped. I went to a wider stance position with my arms and it worked beautifully. I started making up ground right away. I need to complete 42 push-ups each day. It was a massive struggle on Day one, but this was kind of my 2nd day and I did 54 push-ups to begin.
After I did my push-ups, I went and did 6 sets of hills in my back yard. I wanted to do more, but I needed to bathe and hit the road as I was going to Castlegar to see a matinee. After my work week, I really felt the need to unplug like that. When I was there, I had my popcorn and a soda. (I don’t go to the movies to be healthy, I go to unplug my brain and turn on my robotic arm while I stuff popcorn in my face.) The movie popcorn/soda is eating loophole I gave myself. I did however, not get a lid or straw for my drink, so I stayed plastic free. (Except for the waxy shit they line those cups with) I didn’t think they would let me take my drink like that, but they did, so I was happy about that.
On my way home from the movie, as it isn't too far from where I live, I went to Evergreen Natural Foods in Crescent Valley to load up on some more food. I like going there 'cause I get to see a couple of really great people: Tracey and Kelly. Lucky for me, both of them were working, so I got to say hello to each of them. Yaaaay for those kind girls!
Even being a natural health food store of organics, etc, I still found the same problem of stickers on most things like avocados and bananas, so there was only a limited selection to pick from. I still got some good food though.
When I came back home I got right back at it and made up ground in every category. It took me into the night, but I did pretty well.
I was up through the night until about 4:00am. I had to deal with some unexpected work stuff between 1:00 and 2:30am. Even at home on my weekend my work still gets me.
I woke up for good not too long after 9:00am. I got at Day 5. Despite how tired my body is, I did 52 push-ups, and did 12 sets of calf raises instead of 4. I also did 6 sets of hills instead of 4, so I am making up ground again.
I stopped to make some food, but I don’t really feel like eating it. The struggle from the first couple days is behind me already and I’m nicely on my way with the time restricted eating of one meal a day, with some nibbles while I am making it. Today it is elbow pasta with broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, green onion, and a couple spoonfuls of salsa.
I kinda feel bummed that I don’t wanna eat my food. The nice thing though, is that I already feel lighter on my insides. I don’t mean as far as body weight, but in the way of my digestive system, and the feeling of not being full, or any kinda thing like heart-burn or whatever. It’s nice to feel that progress.
When I see how the first handful of days has played out, and reflecting upon them, not bringing new plastic into my life and time restricted eating has not been an issue all! The real issue is the time involved for all the fitness tasks, as well as food prep combined with my working schedule. I will need to reconfigure my time management. This is all to be expected, but just not quite the way I might have thought initially. I guess that’s the whole point of a challenge. I won’t let myself fail. Pain lasts for a little, failure lasts a lifetime!
I was supposed to begin this challenge of mine yesterday, but while I was thinking about it I realized I want to keep some detailed notes aside from writing about it like this. I wanted to do that for tracking the fitness end of what my challenge entails just so I would know what I had completed and had yet to do each day.
I built a spreadsheet for that in Google Sheets as I am getting versed in those from using them so much at work. Before I could complete that sheet, I started thinking about the food and plastic end of things. Next thing I knew I was building more sheets.
Figuring out what I needed, how I wanted to reflect them on each sheet and then building the sheets themselves took a bit of time. It didn’t leave me with enough time to complete my tasks for my first day, and I thought that would be a shitty way to start…Failure right out of the gate from being unprepared
I didn’t like the thought of beginning all of this in failure, and I knew it would sit with me the whole time, so I made sure the sheets I needed were done the way I wanted, and pushed it all one day until today.
The way I looked at that was that it just took one day off the back end of everything between finishing this and the weekend I would like to start into triathlons if my body gives me the opportunity. Also, as I was initially thinking on doing this for the month of July, but started days earlier, I had a bit of guilt-free room to play around with my beginning. I guess that’s a payoff of beginning something early…that it gives a bit of grace for a stumble. Considering all of this I feel like I made the right choice because I will be worth it in the long run.
Last night at work was my beginning as it is the equivalent to the day time for the vast majority of people. (I work through the night.) I had simple rice with spices, and left over roasted chicken.
Even though my challenge is to not bring any new plastic into my life, I still decided to keep track of all the existing plastics that I use, and how many times for each item every day.
I felt it would be good to nit-pick that much just so when I look back on things after the month is over, I can see how many plastic items I use in my life even though I brought no new plastics into it.
The Tupperware for my food put me into plastic usage right off the bat. Then there was my van, and keys. My work was excluded from that though as I have no control over that, and if I were to count plastics for that too, my totals would be skyrocketing. (Plus I can’t spend my time at work tracking all the plastics I use…even the simplest things…pens, computers, highlighters, staplers, keys…)
I was exhausted by the time I was done work. Before I clocked out I had to go over to our head-office to do some stuff. When I was there I started getting pretty freakin’ hungry.
It was Lynn’s birthday. When I was talking with her she asked me if I wanted to come to her birthday lunch they were having at noon. I said I couldn’t because of this challenge and the time restricted eating within it…that I can eat food during the night when I was at work, and then from there it was juice and water only. It was 10:45am and I was also really fading with that exhaustion, to the point where my head went numb and I felt half drunk. I said happy birthday to her again and went back to my work to finish up and clock out.
When I left work I knew I didn’t have any food at home other than rice, quinoa, some spices and garlic. I didn’t want to deal with the grocery store and already knew how limited it was. The Co-Op was the other much better option for this, but it was Wednesday and the market was on, so I was going there to get some food.
The market has moved and is smaller this year, but there were some good little fresh food stands. The first place I went to are super local to me as they are from Glade, like me. Their farm isn’t across the ferry where the main community is, but they are Glade none-the-less: Glade Organics
I got some kale, a cucumber, and some kind beets from them. I was about to grab their last bunch of carrots, but some woman scooped ‘em up in front of me. I was thinking about how I would eat them. Right away I figured that I would make rice, then chop up the kale and put that on top of the rice to steam once the water level cooked down below the top rice level. When I dished it up I would shed the beets and put that on top. “Sweet…I have a plan!”
I talked with the people a bit. They were super nice. Bummed about the carrots though, I asked them if they sold anything from their farm as I was a neighbour and it would be stylin’ to just go grab stuff directly from them. They said they did on Tuesday later afternoons. I told them I’d be coming for sure next week and would be coming with a camera and would likely write something about being there. They offered to take me around their farm.
I said good-bye and walked around looking at what the other stands had. It’s seasonal, so everybody had all the same stuff. I went to some organic stand from Blewett and got some green onions. After that I went to another stand and got a small thing of strawberries.
As it is my first day, I didn’t have my head totally tuned in yet, and ate one tiny little strawberry just to see what they were like. When I was done eating it I realized I wasn’t supposed to eat anything through the day and casually cursed myself for screwing up that fast. I tried to talk myself into forgiving myself as it was only one tiny chintzy little strawberry. I decided it was OK, and let it go. The challenging part was about to come.
I knew the hardest part would be the adjusting of my body to the change of eating times, and one meal a day in the beginning until I adapted to it. I was prepared for it, but I was still getting pretty freakin’ hungry. I just knew all I had to do was get home, take a siesta, and then I’d be OK.
I saw a stand with a bunch of loaves of breads though. “Hot damn…I’m goin’ to check that out!” I love fresh bread. Always have, always will
It was the French bakery’s stand. All I really cared about was if they were packing them up in paper or plastic. Sure enough…paper! “Yeaaaaah! I’m getting’ somea that shit for sure!”
I got a 2 for 1 deal on two kind loaves. I was psyched…right up until he put them in my hands. I felt how soft they were and I was horrified. Normally, I would have only made it back to my van with 1½ loaves ‘cause I’d just eat chunks of it along the way. Not today though! I simply had to toughen up and ignore the urge
My Market Scores!
By the time I got home I felt like I was hungover in the head because of how tired I was. I had an intense headache. I actually had a couple Advil. Of course, they are in a plastic bottle, so I had to log it.
I then made a real quick stock with the chicken bones, some garlic, rosemary, some spices, and Liquid Braggs. That is prep for a base for the rest of the month. Once I got that going I half-assed put the greens in the fridge. I then had to think about the bread and how to store that. As I was not bringing new plastic into the house, but could use plastics I already had, I grabbed one of the few plastic bags I had from when I buy my bulk rice and stuck one loaf in there. I kept the other in the paper bag it came in.
Even though I already had the plastic bag here, I don’t feel quite right about using it. For now I am gonna, but I will log it, and will figure it out for next time, next week.
I then crawled into bed and slept for about 1½ hours. Maaaan did I ever wanna sleep more, but I know if I did I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep before I have to go into work tonight and I’d be real screwed.
When I got up, my head ache was even worse, so I took a couple more Advil’s. I didn’t feel really good about it, but seeing that I take nothing else for all the pain I am in, I let it slide.
I used to get real vicious migraines for about 10 years when I was a kid. Nothing worked for them at all. It would be one solid migraine for 2-3 weeks. Hallucinations, seeing spots, light headedness, and the pain. It wasn’t until I gave up red meat by accident that they went away. Since then though, even the smallest headache drives me insane regardless of the rest of the pain in my body, so I ate a few Advil’s today.
After I got going, all my thoughts have been on my challenge. I know how much time it is going to entail, especially if I want to log it and write about it as I am doing now. I’m still in the midst of all the fitness stuff, but had the urge to sit down and write as soon as I came up from my four sets of hills down my back yard by the river.
Now that I am cracking into this, and have a basic template set up for it all, it shouldn’t be too bad from here on out.
The one thing I was thinking when I was doing my first hill is that I am gonna do it shirtless even if it is chilly in the rain. I feel like I need to toughen up and don’t wanna make it easy on myself. The whole point of this is to challenge my potential, so I wanna find more ways to do that even in what I am already doing
June 14, 2018
I feel like I have been stuck in a rut for far too long. Of course, I have no one to blame for that but myself, and I have no choice but to accept that one.
The stupid thing is that it drives me nuts every day. Every…freakin’…day! The obvious huge part of that is my body. I’m disgusted with myself every waking moment. The grotesque level of fat that I am living in is nauseating to me. I really mean that. I feel this sludge hanging off of me all over my body…sludge that never falls off or wipes away.
I feel it hanging off my back, hanging over the waist of my pants. My pants are so tight that they are so bothersomely uncomfortable. I refuse to buy bigger ones because all that does is say that it is OK to be like that…but it’s not OK.
I don’t understand this whole thing in this world of obesity we find ourselves inn now in the way that we promote how being big is beautiful too. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. The reason for that is I know how unhealthy it is, and I don’t think it’s right to promote unhealthy as beautiful. What one looks like and what their personality is irrelevant to the issue at hand...this is about health, plain and simple!
For me, the excess fat on my body, and my disgust within it, has nothing to do with how it looks, because I don’t give a shit how I look to other people. The thing that matters is what it does to my body. My efficiency of movement is non-existent, and therefore so is my efficiency of energy. I’m just wiped out all the time.
I know I have all the strikes of my pain filled body and sleeplessness working against me too, but even with acknowledging it, I still ignore it and hold myself to a standard irregardless of it. That plays torture on my mind…all day every day. It never won’t! Even when I am at my best it is still never good enough for me, because I still see what could have been.
I am sooo far from my best right now and my daily battle with insanity because of it is another torturous fight on my daily plate I am force fed to eat down.
The amount that I hate getting winded for nothing is something that I couldn’t possibly quantify. I fuckin’ hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it like you don’t even know!
The strange thing is that I love hitting hard cardio to the point where I feel like my lungs are gonna pop and I am gonna throw up. That unique taste that forms in my mouth full of saliva that splats out of my mouth and hangs off my chin while I have snot shooting from my nostrils while I am gasping for air feeling like I’m gonna die is one of my most favourite things. I’ve been so in love with it for so long, but my body has ripped the true ability for that as I structurally cannot bring myself to that level. There is one exception to that, and that is when I am able to find a steep mountain hill in the winter and charge up the hill in belly-button deep snow. That shit fucks me up in that very blissed out way. Sadly though, it has been a very long time since I have been able to do that.
Getting winded from being so over weight is not the same thing though. It’s coming from the same place. The tiniest ways that I can get winded are embarrassing. I don’t mean embarrassing in regards to what others might think, because just like not giving a shit what people think about how my current obesity looks, I couldn’t care less about what one might think of the ways I can get so winded so easily.
Although not steep and deep snowy mountain terrain, I have been dipping into doing hills in my back yard from the river up to my home. Even that kills my heart and winds me terribly though
The path from my home to the water. Doesn't look like a hill here, but I swear it is one.
It eats at my mind to not have a low resting heart rate. (I used to love seeing results of my resting heart rate being in the mid 50 beats per minute when I was younger.) The thing hurts worse than my lungs for getting winded is the pain it causes in my chest around my heart area. I have to be conscious of that. I miss the recklessness of hard cardio when I was in shape, or not far from it, where I could go hard and it felt nothing but good for me even when I would throw up from the hard charge. It is the exact opposite though with a body so horribly out of shape, because the worst thing is my heart. It just feels like it could give out at any moment. The strain my heart and chest feels is insane! This is why I think it is not right, and down even outright negligent to be promoting excess body fat as beautiful, because when you get below skin deep and look at what is really going on it is absolutely terrible. I don’t understand why people are so OK with it.
For those who may read this and get offended or all mad at me, I simply put this 30 month challenge out to any obese person. Take 18 months to eat relatively well, and get good exercise consistently 4 days a week. I don’t mean going for a shitty little walk, I mean proper cardio and weight bearing exercise. Cut the weight off while strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system. Eighteen months is a good amount of time to do it safely and properly. During that time, honestly acknowledge how it feels in your body. Completely ignore how it looks as that is not what this challenge is about. It is strictly about what the effect of proper eating and exercise has on the function and feeling of your body. Document the journey. Then, at the end of those 18 months, for the next year, go back to eating whatever you did before and giving up on exercise…do whatever it was within your previous lifestyle that had you in an obese body, packing on a whack load of weight again with cardio stripped away. Document that honestly too.
With 100% confidence I guarantee that the results will find that of the two different body types and lifestyles, the healthier eating and exercising one will feel better. I know this first hand because during the 25 years of my broken body I have been kinda disgustingly underweight (to the point where I had to walk around with my hands in my pockets just to keep my pants from falling down), grotesquely overweight (as I am right now), as well as ripped in shape. I have experienced the full spectrum of body type (Irregardless of the pain in my body.), and well condition trumps grotesque underweight or overweight every time with no thought. There is no comparison.
Having been through all of that, and knowing it first hand, plus having been in shape (or not far from it) for most of my life I know what I am talking about with it. Packed with that knowledge is also why it drives me so insane on more than a daily basis to be in such poor condition that I’m in. It’s there in my mind non-stop. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, if it isn’t on the forefront of my mind, it is lingering around on the back burner poking at my brain.
It is really hard for me to push through that. It gets harder and harder with the more that my body breaks down. I’m so worn out, and I sleep so little that it is a struggle to do nothing most of the time, so having to push through that to charge into strengthening a well rounded aspect of my body is tough. Real, real tough!
I’ve always been known for having a real tough mental strength, but although it is there in theory, it can often feel like it is waning which is terrifying to me. If I lose that I’m fucked.
I know that mental capacity is there as I have shown it far too many times when strength is the last thing I felt inside me. Finding that mental strength doesn’t always have the same recipe though, and at times I feel like I have lost my recipe book and have lost the intuitive nature to create a new recipe from scratch. That can frustrate the living hell outta me; and that’s when I start really attacking myself mentally for being so weak and shitty in my mind. It not only terrifies me, but it disgusts me. I love being strong. If not in my body, than at least in my mind! If it’s not there, or it continuously tries to elude me I beat the living shit outta myself in my mind.
If all that is not enough, I also have to deal with my mind ripping itself apart over the actual physical sensation of how it feels having these disgusting layers of sludge hanging all over my body. It is such a living torture every day. Add to that the unfathomable exhaustion permeating every cell in my body and it’s really hard to put it all together.
I am trying though. In my mind every day I am desperately trying to crack through the wall my self-imposed rut has led me to. I have been building muscle to where I can feel those changes in my body. That feels good, and paints a lotta pictures in my mind of the first summer I started working out with Ronnie Perkins when I was 12 years old. That summer changed everything about who I am.
Starting to strengthen my body has also flooded me with images of working out with my Uncle Charlie in his powerlifting days on his way to winning the world championships. I’m not sure if he ever realizes the true depth of his impact on my life. I fuckin’ loved spending that time with him…even when I was a piece of shit little punk-ass teenager
When I moved last year, I bought myself a universal gym. I had wanted one of those since that summer workin’ out with Ronnie. The downfall with them was always the limited amount of weight on them, but that isn’t a problem anymore as my physical structure can only sustain so much, so I will never be able to strengthen my muscles to their capacity. That’s a bummer for sure, but I will take what I can get.
Without exception, every time I am working out on it, I think of my old bro from high school, Gary Beynon. He and I had some good work outs on the universal gear in school. He was a tough bastard! Strongest and toughest in our school as he used to be a boxer! Fuckin’ great guy though! Even though we haven’t seen each other since forever we’re still really great friends
Gary's greatness was always inevitable!
(We are both die-hard Philadelphia Eagles and had all our dreams come true in the Super Bowl this year! Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Eagles! Eagles! Eagles!)
I also have a few people on my mind on pretty much a daily basis who are from around here, but who I barely know at all…Kaila, Ali and Leo. They’re pretty well known, so a lotta locals will know who I am talking about. Ali owns Power by You Crossfit. (www.powerbyyou.com/)
Leo is a firefighter who trains at her gym. (They are also engaged) They are both competitors on top of simply training themselves. Ali had this amazing video of Leo made last year. It is bad-ass as all fuck!
Not too long ago, the community came together in a heartbeat to sponsor Leo to go to a big competition he qualified for. He's such a good guy, and works real hard, so people jumped all over the sponsorship opportunity for him.
Kaila owns Bambu Hot Yoga Studio and also trains at Ali's gym with the two of them. (Kaila and Ali are best of friends.) Her yoga studio is right across the road from my work. I work nights, so I see her car parked out front all the time when I get off for the day. You can pretty much set your clock by her discipline. Earlier in the year I spontaneously wrote this about Kaila.
Bambu Hot Yoga in Nelson, BC bambuhotyoga.com/
Kaila and Ali are freakin' animals when you see one sense of the way they are. No matter the time of year, how nice or shitty it is out, you see Kaila's car parked in front of her studio somewhere around 5:00am...even in the deep dark side of winter all covered in ice and snow. Then you look online and Ali's postin' stuff for her business and returning messages at like 4:00 - 4:30am. It's totally amazing. Forget the crack of dawn...these two kick the crack of dawn's ass all up over the place!
Two seriously bad-ass people!
Kaila, Ali and Leo are all pretty serious into being bad-ass and living a really wholesome lifestyle. The three of them, maybe they do realize it, maybe they don’t, but they do leave an inspired impression in their wake. They’re all really freakin’ nice and just go for it! What’s not to dig about that?! I like people like that. I didn't mean for them to be on my mind, they just inadvertently carved their way in there from being awesome.
In my past I have been told too many times I have inspired people. I don’t always think I deserve that, but regardless, even those who inspire need to be inspired, and I like that I casually 1% know these people, and that they are around town. It’s good to have that kind of thing at the doorstep of ones mind when trying to push through a barrier.
As I am writing this I just caught a whiff of my wetsuits hanging in my closet. Ooooh that disgusting smell of neoprene rubber that I both hate and love so much! I can’t stand the smell, but I love what it represents. It often makes me think of a triathlon I was doing in Florida 10 years ago at Disney World. Before the race began, when it was still dark in the early morning, when I was in line to go to the bathroom the guy in front of me turned and said with a smile on his face, “Aaaaahhh…nothing like the smell of neoprene and port-a-shitters before a race!” If you’re a triathlon person you will understand what that means.
(By the way…at that Disney triathlon, there was a petting zoo between the water portion of the course and the transition area. Haha…That was a first!)
So, even though it is covered in fat, I have been building muscle in my body, but aside from casual time on a recumbent bike trainer in my home, I have not really been hitting cardio.
**On a side note...it is a really strange feeling having tightened and toned muscles that are buried in fat. It is a truly perplexing feeling.
I have tried to ride my bike, but the tough thing I found is that I have a big bulging hernia that hurts pretty badly. When I did get out on my bike for a chintzy flat 4km ride, my hernia went rock hard and was sticking really far out. It hurt really badly. The pain I can take, but I don’t want it to rupture ‘cause that’ll be trouble, so I kinda don’t know what to do for my cardio right now. I am trying to figure it out. I have figured out how to weave through the pain and my hernia to do some weight training, but the cardio aspect is a different animal, an equation I have yet to figure out. I am a persistent one though, so I will figure it out.
I am also getting back into intermittent fasting and casual consistent cleansing just to give my digestive system a break. Straight fasting is not something that is good for the make-up of my body. I have discussed that pretty thoroughly with numerous healers many years ago, but intermittent fasting seems ok. Cleansing is more suited to my body needs, and I have been well versed in that for sure.
A couple weeks ago I looked on the Triathlon BC website for the first time in 6 years. It was a spontaneous thing that I kinda found myself surprised that I was poking around there. There are a bunch of the same races, and also some new ones. I kinda have the itch to do that again, but the state of my body is so rough, and it has broken down so badly with a lot more permanent damage since I last raced that I don’t know what is realistic and what is not.
For now, all I really wanna do is cut this fuckin’ sludge off my body and be able to get this hernia cut outta me in the fall time with enough time to heal before I have to start shoveling snow…or else I will have to wait til spring for that.
Cracking the cardio code for my shitty body, and busting through all mental barriers pulling me down with such crushing weight is my real top priority, but maaaaan is that shit ever tough when I have the level of exhaustion flowing through me that I do.
How I walk around...living in a world between awake and asleep.
Last month I kept track of my sleeping hours during one of my work weeks. My entire duration of sleep over that week totaled 7½ hours. I get so tired that I feel like I am gonna throw up, so it does make it real tough to have that as the starting point to then push through paint throughout my whole body with a crazy hernia on top of it all. I guess this is just another one of those times where I can try and see what I’m made of to see how it all plays out.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.